Jun 8, 2019

The Latest Issue of the Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Michael Brands, The Life and Ministry of Jesus as Enactment of the Great Commission: A New Proposal for Interpreting Matthew 28:16–20 in Light of Matthew’s Gospel
Reviewed by Charles Leland Quarle

Delbert Burkett, The Case for Proto-Mark: A Study in the Synoptic Problem
Reviewed by Austin Busch

Davida H. Charney, Persuading God: Rhetorical Studies of First-Person Psalms
Reviewed by Jeffery M. Leonards

Matthijs den Dulk, Between Jews and Heretics: Refiguring Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho
Reviewed by Chang Seon An

Nicholas Ellis, The Hermeneutics of Divine Testing: Cosmic Trials and Biblical Interpretation in the Epistle of James and Other Jewish Literature
Reviewed by Matt Jackson-McCabe

Gary E. Gilthvedt, Dying and Deliverance: Searching Paul’s Law-Gospel Tension
Reviewed by William Horst

Víctor Morla, Libro de Job: Recóndita armonía
Reviewed by Timothy J. Sandoval

David T. Runia and Gregory E. Sterling, eds., Studia Philonica Annual: Studies in Hellenistic Judaism, Volume XXVII (2015)
Reviewed by Tyler Smith

Kimberly D. Russaw, Daughters in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon

John F. A. Sawyer, Isaiah through the Centuries
Reviewed by Marvin A. Sweeney

W. Dennis Tucker Jr., Jonah: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text
Reviewed by Karolien Vermeulen

W. Dennis Tucker Jr. and Jamie A. Grant, Psalms, Volume 2
Reviewed by Denise Dombkowski Hopkins

Jun 7, 2019

Theological Old Testament Theology?

I am intrigued by Kevin Vanhoozer's recent attempt to define theological Old Testament theology. Parts of the statement below, resonate with me but I have concerns with an over reliance on a redemptive-historical framework and how that fits with the last sentence.
"Theological Old Testament theology, like TIS [theological interpretation of Scripture] in general, emphasizes the theological nature, content, context, and purpose of the biblical text (i.e., what the text is, what it says about something, what it presupposes, and what it is for). As to content, it is important to look both at the text (what it says) and along the text (what it is about). What it is about—the subject matter of the text—is the divine economy: the execution in time of God’s eternal plan of salvation, namely, the project of creating a holy nation. As to context, theological Old Testament theology sets the texts in canonical framework, which is more, not less, than literary, and in a redemptive-historical framework, which is more, not less, than naturalistic history. Ultimately, we could even say that Christ is the ultimate context of history and Scripture alike inasmuch as “in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). As to purpose, the Old Testament is less a source of information than transformation, a means of cultivating godliness—knowledge of and the communion with God.” 
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, “Toward a Theological Old Testament Theology? A Systematic Theologian’s Take on Reading the Old Testament Theologically,” in Interpreting the Old Testament Theologically: Essays in Honor of Willem A. VanGemeren, ed. Andrew C. Abernethy (Grand Rapids, 2018), 303–304

Jun 6, 2019

Review of The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel

Dorsey, David A. The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2018.

If there are books that identify one as a Bible nerd this might be one of them. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. As the title suggests, this work is a thoroughgoing examination of the roads and highways of Iron Age Israel (ca. 1200-586 BC). It is based on the author’s doctoral dissertation and although first published in 1991 still provides the best work on the subject.

The book is divided into eleven chapters. The first two are introductory and methodological in nature. Chapter one discusses the nature of roads in ancient Israel and covers topics such as travel methods, width of roads, construction methods, and naming and marking. It is a comprehensive and interesting overview of the subject. In chapter two, four types of sources are identified for providing data to reconstruct ancient roads: (1) historical sources (written), (2) archaeological, (3) later routes, and (4) geographical and topographical conditions.

The next eight chapters examine the roads and highways of Israel by dividing the material into major routes and regions. Each chapter begins with an introductory overview followed by a more specific and detailed discussion. Maps are also included.

The final chapter provides a brief but interesting set of observations and is followed by a helpful appendix related to road terminology in the Old Testament.

Overall, Dorsey has provided an essential resource for those seeking to understand the roads and highways of Iron Age Israel. There is a nice blend of interaction with the four sources noted above and also the secondary literature. There is a wealth of information here and much to build upon by those who want to bring newer discoveries to the discussion. (The most recent source in the extensive bibliography dates to 1988.)

My criticisms are relatively minor and one has to keep in mind that this is a reprinted work. First, I do wish that footnotes rather than endnotes would have been utilized. Flipping back and forth gets old in a hurry and a book like this is not likely to be read by the casual reader who finds footnotes a hindrance. Second, I do wish that the Hebrew would have been employed rather than transliteration. Third, the maps can be quite busy and a bit difficult to read. But again, these are minor issues.

In sum, one is grateful that Wipf & Stock has chosen to reprint this excellent resource at a reasonable cost. The nature of the work does not lend itself to those casually interested in the Old Testament or the Holy Land but those who are interested in such things as roads and highways will have an invaluable resource.

Thanks to the folks at Wipf & Stock for providing the copy used in this unbiased review.